Facebook Preparing Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple for 'Unfair' Approach to Privacy and Default Apps

Facebook is preparing to launch a lawsuit against Apple for alleged anticompetitive behaviour, particularly regarding App Tracking Transparency and iMessage, according to The Information.

Apple vs Facebook feature

The antitrust lawsuit would contend that Apple has abused its power in the smartphone industry by enforcing App Store rules that Apple itself supposedly does not have to follow. Within this, the case would argue rules such as the requirement that developers use Apple's own in-app payment service, make it harder to compete in areas such as gaming, messaging, and shopping.

iOS 14's App Tracking Transparency feature, which allows users to opt-out of being tracked via an on-screen prompt, is believed to be central to Facebook's case. Facebook alleges that the prompts are unfair because they do not appear for Apple's own apps, offering it a competitive advantage. However, Apple's apps do not track users or share data for advertising purposes, so this seems to be a bemusing foundation for the lawsuit.

In addition to App Tracking Transparency, Facebook is expected to focus on Apple's refusal to allow third-party messaging apps to be installed as the default option on iPhones and iPads. The company lobbied Apple to allow users to choose Facebook's Messenger app as the default on iOS instead of iMessage in September last year, and it now claims that Apple disallows other messaging apps to be set as default in an effort to prevent people from switching to competing smartphone brands.

Facebook has also reportedly considered inviting other companies to participate in its prospective lawsuit against Apple. A natural ally would seemingly be Epic Games, which has been embroiled in a legal battle with Apple since Fortnite was removed from the App Store for breaking Apple's rules.

The news appears to be a considerable escalation in tensions between the two companies, which have become increasingly fraught in recent months. For example, in December, Facebook paid for a series of full-page advertisements in national newspapers to berate ‌iOS 14‌'s App Tracking Transparency, saying that it harms small businesses.

During Facebook's quarterly earnings call with investors yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Apple's business is increasingly focused "on gaining share in apps and services against us and other developers." He continued, "so Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own."

While Facebook may be seeking monetary damages, the preferable outcome is believed to be significant changes to Apple's platform restrictions and ‌App Store‌ rules. The Information notes that in spite of Facebook's legal preparations, it may yet decide to not bring the case to court.

One factor within this is said to be considerable internal dissent within Facebook itself. Executives are facing "internal resistance" from some employees over the prospect of deepening its public campaign against Apple with a lawsuit. Specifically, some employees are apparently concerned that Facebook is "not a compelling victim," especially given the company's own antitrust cases and mishandling of user data.

Top Rated Comments

BreuerEditor Avatar
15 weeks ago
I hope this bytes Facebook in the bits. Did I say that out-loud?
Score: 71 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robertcoogan Avatar
15 weeks ago
Well, Epic can take a rest now. Facebook will play the part of the fool from now on.
Score: 66 Votes (Like | Disagree)
atomwork Avatar
15 weeks ago
Funny, this coming from Facebook. ?
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JungeQuex Avatar
15 weeks ago
I really don’t think that Facebook realized that the population is against them on this one. Talk about living in an ivory tower. I don’t really care how this effects their bottom line - if they can’t make money without harvesting my data to sell, then they should go out of business.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Manzanito Avatar
15 weeks ago
Why do people still use facebook?
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pakaku Avatar
15 weeks ago

He continued, "so Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own."
Scummy apps like Facebook which infringe on privacy need to be interfered with and kept in check, so good on Apple for being """unfair"""
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

prosser macbook air colors stacked

Images Reveal Colorful New MacBook Air Design

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:06 am PDT by
Apple's next MacBook Air will feature a completely new design and come in a range of colors like the 24-inch iMac, according to leaker Jon Prosser, who has now released supposedly accurate renders of the new machines based on leaked images. In a new video uploaded to YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser elaborated on his previous prediction that Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models ...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...
3d printed airtag case siri remote

3D-Printed Case Lets You Attach an AirTag to Your Apple TV Remote

Monday May 10, 2021 8:11 am PDT by
Apple recently released a redesigned Siri Remote with a physical clickpad, but if you have an original Siri Remote laying around that you still plan on using, you may be interested in getting an AirTag case for the remote. Etsy user PrintSpiredDesigns has capitalized on the opportunity with a new 3D printed, made-to-order AirTag case for the original Siri Remote. The remote slides into the...
airtag hacked

AirTag Successfully Hacked to Show Custom URL in Lost Mode

Monday May 10, 2021 1:52 am PDT by
The inevitable race to hack Apple's AirTag item tracker has reportedly been won by a German security researcher, who managed to break into the device's microcontroller and successfully modify its firmware. Yesss!!! After hours of trying (and bricking 2 AirTags) I managed to break into the microcontroller of the AirTag! 🥳🥳🥳/cc @colinoflynn @LennertWo pic.twitter.com/zGALc2S2Ph— stacksmashing ...
zoom app icon

Apple Gave Zoom Access to Special API to Use iPad Camera During Split View Multitasking

Sunday May 9, 2021 2:00 am PDT by
Zoom, a hallmark platform used by millions during the global health crisis, has been given access to a special iPadOS API that allows the app to use the iPad camera while the app is in use in Split View multitasking mode. This case of special treatment was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that Zoom uses a special API that allows the...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
Top Stories 59 Feature

Top Stories: Epic Games vs. Apple, Hidden AirTag Mode, Apple Music Hi-Fi, Colorful MacBook Air?

Saturday May 8, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
While we wait for the newly introduced iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV models to launch later this month, this week saw the kickoff of the big Epic Games v. Apple trial, with lots of juicy tidbits coming out as the two sides make their arguments. This week also saw some rumors about a Hi-Fi tier for Apple Music, more biometric sensing capabilities for Apple Watch, and timing for the...
Apple 5G Modem Feature

Kuo: Apple-Designed 5G Modem May Debut in iPhones as Early as 2023

Sunday May 9, 2021 10:02 pm PDT by
Apple plans to adopt its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the 2023 iPhones, meaning it'll no longer need to rely on Qualcomm to supply the 5G cellular modem for the iPhone, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in an investors note obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple plans to include its own custom-designed 5G baseband chip starting with the launch of the 2023...
maxresdefault

Video: Make Your iPhone Last Longer With These Battery Preserving Tips

Monday May 10, 2021 1:23 pm PDT by
Maximizing battery life is something that many iPhone users deal with on a regular basis as we all want our iPhones to last as long as possible. Sometimes there are bugs in iOS that make the battery drain faster, and sometimes we just need to eke out as much as possible on a long day out and about. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, MacRumo...
m1 ipad pro chip

M1 iPad Pro Over 50% Faster Than Previous Generation in Early Benchmarks

Tuesday May 11, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro. Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of...